April 15, 2005
Terri Schiavo died 13 days after doctors removed her feeding tube.
Her death came less than 12 hours after her parents went to the U.S. Supreme Court and had their last appeal rejected. Many have heard the story but at the University of La Verne is this really a big deal?
“It has made me think about me and my wife’s wishes about our deaths,” said Brian Best, instructional technology specialist at the University. “My job is to do what my wife asks me regardless of what others may think she wants. I have to obey my wife’s wishes.”
Schiavo was 41 and had been incapacitated since 1990 after suffering a heart attack which caused her permanent brain damage.
When Schiavo’s feeding tube was removed it caused a big stir in America. The reaction across the nation was overwhelming; many felt sympathy for Schiavo and her 15-year battle. Many agreed with her husband Michael Schiavo’s decision and others felt for her parents who did not want to see their daughter die.
The case also prompted family discussions about whether it is in a family’s best interest to write a living will.
“The one good thing people can take from this experience regardless of what they think is to have a direct medical directive signed and to talk to their families about what to do in case of death,” said Christine Lewis, junior English major who, at 20, already has a medical directive.
However not all students took away something positive from the constant publicity of the story.
“I refuse to care,” said Phu Son, a 22-year-old graduate student. “I have too much stuff to worry about.”
“I’m a college student and I can’t watch on the news everyday of why she’s dying. I’m dying myself because I can’t afford to feed myself,” Son said.
Many believe that the reason the case has become so big is because of the ongoing battle between Michael Schiavo and Terri Schiavo’s parents, Bob and Mary Schindler. Although Michael Schiavo started a new family he was still legally Terri Schiavo’s husband and guardian.
The Schindler family’s ongoing battle for custody of their daughter and keeping her alive has made some at ULV question Michael Schiavo’s motives.
“If he is technically with another woman he shouldn’t have an impact on this case,” said Cedric Tisserand, coordinator of instructional technology at the University.
“I just think its wrong, he’s doing things against her parents’ will,” he said.
“I’m putting myself in his shoes and I got to make a stand for what my wife wants,” Best said.
“He may be the only person who knows exactly what she wants, and he has to make a stand,” Best said.
Some students agreed with Best that the public will never know exactly what happened between the parties involved.
“It’s hard when a parent has to advocate for their married children,” said April Starkey, junior liberal studies major.
Starkey and Lewis agreed that Michael Schiavo might have done the right thing for his wife and that he may have known that that was what she wanted.
Amira Seyoum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.